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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:39 AM

Phone unlocking ban could hit you in the wallet

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2026236/phone-unlocking-ban-could-could-hit-you-in-the-wallet.html

Phone unlocking ban could hit you in the wallet
Mark Sullivan

As of Saturday, your options for owning an unlocked phone become far more limited. You can ask your carrier to unlock it—and good luck with that—or you can pay a premium to manufacturers like Apple or Google for a new unlocked phone. You just can’t unlock your phone yourself—at least, not legally.

That decision was made not by voters, the courts, or even Congress. It was made by one man, 83-year-old Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington, who is responsible for interpreting the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Billington decided last October that unlocking your phone yourself is a violation of the Act, which was originally written to prevent digital piracy.

When Billington made his decision, he also granted a 90-day exemption period in which people could still buy phones that they could later unlock, but only after asking their carrier to do it and getting “no” for an answer. That period ends Saturday. After that, the question of whether or not the smartphone you buy is truly your own gets a little fuzzy.

The idea that a decision that will affect so many, and involves so much money, could rest on a single unelected person is bizarre at best and absurd at worst.


Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington

14 replies, 1330 views

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:57 AM

1. What does "unlock" mean?

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:06 AM

2. It means you can remove the restrictions on your phone that limit it to a specific carrier.

Last edited Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:37 AM - Edit history (1)

(edited it to remove references to items that fall under 'jailbreaking').



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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:25 AM

4. Unlocking and jailbreaking are two different things

Unlocking allows the phone to be used on different carrier networks.

Jailbreaking allows an iPhone to use non-Apple-approved software on an iPhone.

These are two different things. One relates to the function of the device as a cell phone, the other relates to the device as a computer.

The problem is that when you see a smartphone "sold" for $299 by AT&T or whomever, that is a subsidized price for the phone. The carrier expects to make up the subsidy in the course of your commitment to use the phone on their network for two years or whatever.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:38 AM

5. Yes 'unlocking' doesn't imply 'jailbreaking' and 'jailbreaking' doesn't imply 'unlocking'

(I removed the references from my post).

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:41 AM

6. Does that mean after two years you can go with any carrier you want?

 

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:44 AM

7. Not unless the phone is unlocked

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:18 PM

9. Not really because the networks are also different technologies

So, a AT&T phone isn't going to have full functionality with Verizon or might not work at all.

I think TMobile and AT&T use the same tech and then Sprint and Verizon on different radios.

Legally speaking? I don't know. That would be fair, once your contract is complete you can get your phone unlocked or if you buy unsubsidized it comes that way. I'm guessing not under this decision because what I just described was the status quo as far as I know. I bought my phone at full cost and it is unlocked.

It is just stone avarice for control that leads to this stuff. Reality is most folks can't wait for their contract to be over so they can get the latest and greatest, if they are going to churn they will do it then over device, plan, or service area anyway.
I don't think many of us unlocked people do much moving back and forth either, though I do intend to get a pay as you go or something with the other guys for service holes in places I like to spend time.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:06 AM

3. Most cell phones are locked to a specific carrier.

I use T-mobile, and my phone will only work on their network. If I want to use it with AT&T, it needs to be unlocked.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:56 PM

12. thanks...eom

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #1)


Response to powerpufgal (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:25 AM

14. I got a free phone and became a Sprint customer for eight years

I didn't get $3000 worth of service from them, so I left for Virgin. I wonder if I could unlock that phone? I like it better than the small battery phone I got through Virgin.
Welcome to our forum!

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:55 AM

8. can a carrier tell if you're unlocked?

Ex: 1- my carrier is TMobile, I buy an android phone (not a TMobile one),have my nephew unlock it , can I still use the TM network for my calls. 2 Can I also download apple or google applications to useon this same phone? This is totally a curosity based question for me.

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Response to irisblue (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:23 PM

10. An AT&T phone will work but you may only get edge internet.

I don't think Sprint or Verizon will work at all, no SIMM card.

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Response to irisblue (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:27 PM

11. I don't believe they can from their end, but

this rule will inspire them to build it into new models.

IMO the Librarian needs to be replaced with soneone younger, who is more cognizant of the issues surrounding today's tech. This guy couldn't even apply the phone rules he interpreted to tablets as well because, according to him, tablets are too poorly defined as a category to be able to distinguish what a tablet actually is.

Which is, of course, bullshit of the highest order. Tablets have screens larger than a holdable phone. DUH.

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